In order to set your foundation and keep your skin looking healthy yet shine-free, a face powder is a makeup bag essential. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly mineral loose formula or a top-of-the-range designer compact, it can be tough to actually find a powder that does what you need it to, whether that's mattifying for oily skin, creating a natural, translucent glow for dry skin, or 'baking' to set makeup in place.
To make that process easier for you, we've picked 10 standout face powders from Amazon, John Lewis and Boots that achieve a variety of results and benefiits for oily, mature, dry and acne-prone skin! Moreover, we have partnered with Makeup Artist Marie Dancer for reviewing and fact-checking the article so that we can deliver the best information.
As a professional make-up artist of ten years, Marie's job has taken her all over the UK working at top events, on TV shows and making up beautiful brides. For all her clients she loves emphasising their natural beauty by creating a flawless base that still looks like skin.
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As a professional makeup artist of ten years, Marie's job has taken her all over the UK, working at top events, on TV shows and making up beautiful brides. For all of her clients, she loves emphasising their natural beauty by creating a flawless base that still looks like skin.
Find out more about Marie and what are her favourite makeup products are through her Instagram! She even shares some industry tips on makeup application too. And if you're interested in getting your makeup done by Marie, you can contact her via her email found at the top of her page.
Pressed powders are ideal throughout the day and need regular touch-ups. Easier to apply and with little mess, pressed powders are also a great choice for dry and mature skin as you won't pick up as much product on your brush versus a loose powder.
They also allow great control and will produce a dramatic look; they often suit bronzing and contouring well. Using a large powder brush, sweep the product gently across the areas you want to set, typically the T-Zone and under eyes but all over if you want longer wear.
While you're here, check out our favourite drugstore foundations for dry skin!
Loose powders are in their true form before pressing into a pan to create a pressed powder. This means it's easier to pick up the powder particles and overload your brush or makeup sponge, resulting in a fuller coverage finish. The powder is designed to soak up liquid, so naturally will have a matte finish unless mixed with mica, pearl or other pigments.
Mineral powders, for example, naturally have a glowy finish - check the name and description and choose based on your skin type and preference. If you opt for a matte finish powder, this will suit oily skin or those looking to set concealer under the eyes.
However, the bonus of such powders is that they do create an ethereal glow on your skin. This is mostly due to the fact they're cobweb-light and often infused with minerals, making them truly delicate and luminous in appearance. They also help fix other makeup products brilliantly.
If you want to cover your face in a barely-perceptible layer of colour that blends away flaws, lookout for a product labelled as a powder foundation, which is designed to be used, as the name suggests, as a standalone foundation.
These products are naturally mattifying – as all powders are, really – but their main purpose is to cover your face and give a flawless finish in the same way a liquid foundation would.
For those of you with dry skin, your best bet is to choose an oil-based powder foundation or one which transforms into a liquid as it touches your skin. On the other hand, should you be prone to acne and blemishes, look out for a foundation which is light and breathable enough to cover spots without further clogging your pores – especially those labelled as non-comedogenic.
A face powder which instead works alongside your foundation to 'bake' or set makeup into place will normally be marketed as a setting or fixing powder, which comes in loose form and is usually applied with a brush.
These are often very light and provide a veil of translucent coverage – the finer the powder, the more effectively it will set your makeup without becoming caked on top of foundation. Use a make-up sponge or powder puff to gently press this into the skin and dust off with a fluffy brush to remove the excess, this is known as 'baking' and will keep your make-up fresh for longer.
Are you hoping to blot away the shine on your oily T-zone? If so, really any face powder should achieve this to a good degree, but the products to seek out which do this job best are translucent, oil-free powders which promise to 'mattify' skin.
In contrast, if you want to highlight certain areas of your face with a glimmer of light, pick an illuminating face powder. Both loose and pressed powders can be illuminating, so look for those which contain micro-shimmer particles to reflect light, meaning you can brush a fine layer over cheekbones or down the bridge of your nose to create the illusion of a natural glow.
Add some sparkle and dimension into your life with our picks for the best highlighters in the UK!
Look out for a face powder which is available in a wide range of skin tones. Obviously you want to choose a powder which includes a shade or colour that suits your skin, but it's also much better to support a diverse and inclusive beauty brand, rather than, say, a range which only caters to white skin.
In general, those who have light coloured skin may prefer to use a powder compact with pink tones, while if you have black or brown skin, orange and yellow undertones are often the most suited to your colouring. Translucent powder suits all skin tones which will cover you across all seasons.
Browse our best bronzers for dark skin here!
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Translucent Glow Loose Setting Powder｜29 g
Set, Perfect, and Smooth Away Flaws With a Decadent Powder For a Gorgeous Glow
Nude Finish Illuminating Powder
Illuminating Powder Infused With Sodium Hyaluronate for a Gorgeous Glow
Stay Matte Pressed Shine Control Powder
Budget-Value Powder That Provide up to 9 Hours of Matte Perfection
Neo Nude Fusion Powder
A Luxury Feather-Light Powder, Perfect for Providing a Bare-Skin Effect
Perfecting Loose Powder
Light, Soft & Fine For a Matte Yet Dewy Glow
Hello Happy Velvet Powder Foundation
Velvety-Soft Blemish Solution to Minimise Pores and Improve Acne
Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder
Long-Lasting Powder to Help Makeup Stay Put, Available in 14 Shades
Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro Powder
Micro-Fine Long-Lasting Powder to Create a Light, Matte Veil, Perfect for Oily Skin
A Mineral Powder Infused With Vitamins to Nourish Your Skin Leaving it Utterly Radiant
DiorSkin Forever and Ever Control Loose Powder
Light, Invisible Powder to Neutralise Shine and Leave a Matte Finish
Our winning face powder has a truly decadent feel, softening skin and cushioning it as it provides the ideal layer of coverage. Not only is it wonderfully fine, the colour is translucent, and the shade ranges available cover very light to deep skin tones and everything in between.
Best suited to perfecting skin by smoothing out flaws, or for brushing lightly over foundation to keep it fixed in place with no blurs or smudging, this lovely loose powder creates superb, subtle, blurring, and luminous results.
This gorgeously soft powder comes in a range of tasteful pinks and golds which can be blended and brushed across the skin to give a divine glow. Boosted with sodium hyaluronate (a total moisture magnet) and a botanical blend of mulberry, grape, and Scutellaria extract, it's also deeply hydrating and brightening.
Use an angled brush to cover your whole face with this chic, natural-looking translucent powder and achieve an overall radiance, or add to specific points to highlight your best features.
To build your ideal level of coverage while safeguarding skin against shine, try Rimmel's excellent value smooth-finish powder, which claims to keep skin looking matte, but also refreshed, for up to 9 hours.
An advantage of this product is that it can conveniently be used when you're in a rush or out and about. It's a mineral powder and contains coconut oil meaning it nourishes and hydrates as it blots grease.
Giorgio Armani's exceptional makeup technology cleverly transforms this feather-light powder into a liquid as it touches and reacts with your skin, meaning it can be blended seamlessly over any imperfection for any age, whether fine lines, scarring, or acne.
There's no sidestepping the fact that it's a luxury designer buy, but for good reason! It really does beat much of the competition for utterly flawless and smooth coverage – think of it like a liquid foundation in a convenient compact.
Estée Lauder's loose powder may be at the high end of the price bracket, but is forgiven for the exceptional quality. It can be dusted over oily skin to provide gossamer-light coverage, allowing your complexion to appear matte yet dewy.
This sheer shine-controlling powder is extremely multifunctional – it masks pores without clogging them and helps to keep your makeup neat and tidy, all whilst being light enough to retain a fresh and moisturised appearance. Perfect!
Absolutely ideal as a replacement for liquid foundation, this product covers the skin in one easy sweep and does its best to minimise pores and fight against acne while providing light, comfortable coverage that looks natural and smooth.
As well as being an effective product, it's also beautifully packaged, with a cute heart-eyes smile carved into the powder. Which is how you'll look after dusting your face with the silky-soft brush or sponge, both of which are provided. On the downside, some users have reported experiencing some cakiness, and the compact itself is quite bulky for taking on-the-go.
Clinique's ultra-light, long-lasting powder is a brilliant investment for your makeup bag. It covers skin in a pleasant matte layer of translucent colour which keeps foundation and concealer set firmly in place all day long.
Available in an impressive range of 14 shades, most of us should be able to find our best-fit colour with ease. With a sheer finish, this oil-free powder smooths triumphantly over flaws and lines and won't clog pores. However, some dry skin users have mentioned that the powder doesn't achieve the expected results for their complexion.
This luxurious, exquisitely fine powder provides a light veil of flawless matte coverage for oily skin. It's only available in several shades, but the aim is to achieve an overall layer of sheer coverage, rather than providing a deep base of colour.
Whip this useful little compact out of your bag in the back of an Uber to quickly touch up oily skin or boost your glow – though actually it provides coverage that lasts a good few hours, so you probably won't need it unless you're planning to be out from day to night! We do have to point out, however, that only 3 shade ranges are available which may be difficult for some to find the perfect shade.
Available in three formulas; original (which has added SPF), illuminating and tinted, this unfathomably fine powder glides over skin to leave a very fine protective layer on top of makeup, fixing it firmly but subtly in place. You can even set lipstick with it!
As a mineral product, this powder is made from, you guessed it, actual minerals, and has added vitamins to boot, so not only will your skin appear miraculously flaw-free, it will also be nourished and protected as you blend. However, you do have to tap the powder out so may not be the best choice for touch-ups on the go.
This barely-visible powder product is air-whipped to a mousse-light formula, which glides onto your complexion and provides a lasting matte finish, absorbing excess sebum and helping to neutralize shine.
Unfortunately, this product is only available in one 'universal' shade, so it's not particularly inclusive in terms of who can use it. It's also quite pricey for the size, but will nonetheless still impress those with lighter to medium skin tones.
Written and Researched by Annie Hopkins
No. 1: Laura Mercier｜Translucent Glow Loose Setting Powder｜29 g
No. 2: Bobbi Brown｜Nude Finish Illuminating Powder
No. 3: Rimmel｜Stay Matte Pressed Shine Control Powder
No. 4: Giorgio Armani ｜Neo Nude Fusion Powder
No. 5: Estee Lauder｜Perfecting Loose Powder
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